Southwest and Poetry

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¿de Veras?: Young Voices from the National Hispanic Cultural Center

Edited by Mikaela Jae Renz
Edited by Shelle VanEtten-Luaces

For one month each year, the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque brings together New Mexico teens for a creative writing program that immerses them in a process of reflection and creativity while encouraging them to explore their identity as people, as a culture, as a region, and as a society. These students unite their varied experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs to form a supportive community of respect through conversation and writing.

¿de Veras? (really?) features a collection of poems, essays, and stories written in the Voces program between 2002 and 2006 that represent the diversity of perspectives and individuality of voices of the young creators. These writings reflect the authors' courage to examine their lives, their neighborhoods, their families, and their cultures. What emerges is their amazingly perceptive, sometimes damning, yet always-honest insights.


Mikaela Jae Renz has been the mentor for the Voces Program since it began in 2002. She received a B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico and works as a community planner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Shelle VanEtten-Luaces is director of education at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of New Mexico along with twenty years of experience in education that includes public schools, universities, teacher training, distance education, and private tutoring.

V. B. Price is an award-winning Albuquerque journalist, poet, novelist, and teacher.


"The writers of the 'Voces Institute' provide an original perspective upon their culture, themselves, and society. Some are voices of anger, some of missed opportunity, some of budding romance; others reflect upon their culture; and others write about society's ills....It's amazing the quality of work that students can produce."


ROYAL: Reviewers of Young Adult Literature

"This book would inspire any creative writing or literature class and would also be an ideal way to learn about other cultures for junior and senior high students."


Voice of Youth Advocates

" ¿De veras?...provides undeniable proof that...our youth can be challenged and inspired to be creative, reflective and thought-provoking. The collective cosmos they depict in their poetry is not just about utopian aspiration--it also portrays everyday realities confronting our fragile planet near and afar. If we as adults dare to listen to their voices of hope, despair and preoccupation, we stand to learn a thing or two."


La Herencia

"An inspiring read for anyone wanting to learn more about the perspectives of Latino teens...This is a great resource for librarians and teachers working with young adults and is certainly an excellent tool for promoting creative writing and poetry expression among this age group. Highly recommended."


REFORMA Newsletter

6 x 9 in. 216 pages 58 halftones